More than 25,000 Catholic youths and their adult chaperones are in Indianapolis for the National Catholic Youth Conference. Saturday is the last day of what has been a three-day experience of prayer, community and empowerment for Catholic teens. Check out this photo gallery on the website of The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdiocese.
According to organizers, one of the signature activities for the youths at this biennial gathering is trading – buttons, pins, caps and other souvenirs that represent their hometown or state. This year, for the first time, they’ll be exchanging bishops’ trading cards during one of the final events on the closing day.
More than 100,000 of the cards were printed and each teen received five bishop trading cards in his or her registration packet. A complete set includes 28 different bishops from all over the country.
“The whole idea of the bishop trading cards was to get into the spirit of the thematic park, Victory Park (named and modeled after Indianapolis’ Victory Field),” said Marlene Stammerman, director of Catholic Youth Ministries for the Indianapolis Archdiocese’s New Albany deanery in Clarksville.
“There is a whole dynamic of trading items at NCYC. Some kids trade buttons, cow bells, and almost anything. Trading the bishops and trying to get the card with their diocesan bishop on it gives the kids one more thing to negotiate with when vying for that favorite item. It’s a fun way for them to start conversations and make new friends.”
Bishops planned to autograph their trading cards for the teens on Saturday from 2-6 p.m. at Victory Park.